Aletho News


Rethinking The Greenhouse Effect

Not A Lot Of People Know That | September 16, 2022

A former head of Australia’s National Climate Centre is arguing that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has adopted an overly simplistic approach to global warming and has ended up exaggerating the human contribution to recent climate change.

William Kininmonth argues that the warming of the planet is fastest in winter and in high latitudes near the poles. He argues that this is mostly due to increased heat transport from the tropical oceans.

However, the recent warming of the tropical oceans can’t be explained by the greenhouse effect due to carbon dioxide, because that effect is small in the humid tropical atmosphere. The most probable explanation is natural changes in ocean currents.

William Kininmonth says:

“The IPCC’s radiation balance approach is very simplistic, ignoring the fact that nowhere on the Earth’s surface is in radiation balance. Mainstream climate science may have led us all up a blind alley”.

GWPF invited the Royal Society and the Met Office to review this paper, and to submit a response to be published as an appendix to it. No reply was received.

William Kininmonth: Rethinking the Greenhouse Effect (pdf)

William Kininmonth joined the Australian Bureau of Meteorology in 1960, and retired in 1998 as head of the National Climate Centre. He was a consultant to the World Meteorological Organization’s Commission for Climatology and participated in regional coordination and training programs. William Kininmonth is author of Climate Change: A Natural Hazard.

September 17, 2022 Posted by | Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | | Leave a comment

Top climate scientists slam global warming “so-called evidence” as “misrepresentation, exaggeration & outright lying”

By Chris Morrison | The Daily Sceptic | July 11, 2022

Two top-level American atmospheric scientists have dismissed the peer review system of current climate science literature as “a joke”. According to Emeritus Professors William Happer and Richard Lindzen, “it is pal review, not peer review”. The two men have had long distinguished careers in physics and atmospheric science. “Climate science is awash with manipulated data, which provides no reliable scientific evidence,” they state.

No reliable scientific evidence can be provided either by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), they say, which is “government-controlled and only issues government dictated findings”. The two academics draw attention to an IPCC rule that states all summaries for policymakers are approved by governments. In their opinion, these summaries are “merely government opinions”. They refer to the recent comments on climate models by the atmospheric science professor John Christy from the University of Alabama, who says that, in his view, recent climate model predictions “fail miserably to predict reality”, making them “inappropriate” to use in predicting future climate changes.

The ’miserable failure’ is graphically displayed below. Since the observations cut-off, global temperatures have again paused.

Particular scorn is poured on global surface temperature datasets. Happer and Lindzen draw attention to a 2017 paper by Dr. James Wallace and others that elaborated on how over the last several decades, “NASA and NOAA have been fabricating temperature data to argue that rising COlevels have led to the hottest year on record”. The false and manipulated data are said to be an “egregious violation of scientific method”. The Wallace authors also looked at the Met Office HadCRUT database and found all three surface datasets made large historical adjustments and removed cyclical temperature patterns. This was “totally inconsistent” with other temperature data, including satellites and meteorological balloons, they said. Readers will recall that the Daily Sceptic has reported extensively on these issues of late and has attracted a number of somewhat footling ‘fact checks’.

Happer and Lindzen summarise: “Misrepresentation, exaggeration, cherry picking or outright lying pretty much covers all the so-called evidence marshalled in support of the theory of imminent catastrophic global warming caused by fossil fuels and CO2.”

Professors Happer and Lindzen’s comments are included in a submission to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, which is seeking to impose massive and onerous ‘climate change’ reporting requirements on public companies. But they form part of a wider scientific revolt by many scientists alarmed at the corruption of science to promote the command-and-control Net Zero agenda. Needless to say, these debates are largely ignored by mainstream media. Opponents of Net Zero politicised science are denounced as ‘cranks’ and ‘deniers’, labels at odds with their distinguished scientific achievements. Between them, Happer from Princeton and Lindzen from MIT have around 100 years of involvement in atmospheric science. Richard Lindzen was an early lead author for the IPCC, while William Happer was responsible for a groundbreaking invention that corrected the degrading effects of atmospheric turbulence on imaging resolution.

In their submission, Happer and Lindzen supply a basic lesson in science: “Reliable scientific theories come from validating theoretical predictions with observations, not consensus, peer review, government opinions or manipulated data”.

In the U.K., it will be interesting to see if Net Zero will feature as a major issue in the battle to find a new Prime Minister. At the moment, candidates seem to be steering a widish berth – something that can happen with virtuous green policies when actual votes are at stake. Happer and Lindzen state firmly that “science demonstrates there is no climate-related risk caused by fossil fuels and CO2, and therefore no reliable scientific evidence supporting the proposed rule”. The rule in this case refers to the SEC climate requirement, but it could equally apply to Net Zero. Many people now accept that a rigid Net Zero policy will lead to massive falls in living standards that will disproportionately affect the poorer in society, both in the U.K. and particularly in the developing world. Contrary to the incessant attack on fossil fuels, write Happer and Lindzen, “affordable, abundant fossil fuels have given ordinary people the sort of freedom, prosperity and health that were reserved for kings in ages past”.

Such prosperity, of course, has left the building in the case of Sri Lanka, where the prospect of famine and civil breakdown face 22 million people following (among other things) the decision of the Government to ban fertiliser in the interests of climate change and saving the planet. Such a collapse, with the President hastily fleeing the country, is likely to face any modern Net Zero society that seeks to tamper with reliable and affordable energy supply, restrict diet and try to grow enough food using ‘organic’ methods. Happer and Lindzen state that reducing COand the use of fossil fuels would have “disastrous consequences” for the poor, people worldwide and future generations.

Both Happer and Lindzen have long held out against the current demonisation of atmospheric CO2, pointing out that the current 415 parts per million (ppm) is near a record low and not dangerously high. They note that 600 million years of CO2 and temperature data “contradict the theory that high levels of CO2 will cause catastrophic global warming”. Omitting unfavourable data is an egregious violation of scientific method. Facts omitted by those who argue there is a climate emergency include that COlevels were over 1,000 ppm for hundreds of millions of years and have been as high as over 7,000 ppm; CO2  has been declining for 180 million years from about 2,800 ppm to today’s low; and today’s low is not far above the minimum level when plants die of CO2 starvation, leading to all other life forms perishing for lack of food.

Finally, the authors note that the logarithmic influence of COmeans its contribution to global warming is “heavily saturated”. The scientists calculate that a doubling of current COlevels would only reduce the heat escaping to space by about 1.1%. This suggests warming of around 1°C or less. The saturation hypothesis explains, they say, the disconnect between CO2  and temperature observed over 600 million years.

July 11, 2022 Posted by | Deception, Science and Pseudo-Science | , , | 1 Comment

How Many Actual Scientists Were Involved With the Latest Apocalyptic IPCC Climate Report?

By Chris Morrison | The Daily Sceptic | March 5, 2022

IPCC scientists outline a harrowing summary of climate impacts already hurting people and species. The Guardian says it is clear that not enough is being done to head off a climate disaster. Up to 14% of species on land face extinction if the temperature rises another 0.3°C. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres describes the abdication of leadership by world powers as “criminal”.

Welcome to the latest IPCC report, painting its usual grim picture of future ecological and societal disaster, and claiming to provide “scientific evidence” for all its key findings. In its summary for policymakers, it notes that “human-induced climate change, including more frequent and intense extreme events, has caused widespread adverse impacts and related losses and damages to nature and people, beyond natural climate variability”. Furthermore, the report says with “high confidence” that if the temperature rises more than 0.35°C, it would cause “unavoidable increases in multiple climate hazards and present multiple risks to ecosystems and humans”. In fact, since about 1800 the global temperature has risen about 1.1°C, seemingly without catastrophic consequences.

So back in the real world, it is ‘Spot the Scientist’ among the 330 listed authors of the latest IPCC report. The Daily Sceptic took a sample consisting of all the British authors listed down to number 120. This is what we found.

The first to appear is Mike Morecroft who runs ‘climate change’ at the Government body, Natural England. Professor Camille Parmesan holds the National Aquarium Chair in Understanding Oceans and Human Health at Plymouth University. Jeff Price works at the University of East Anglia, and holds a PhD in animal psychology. Marie-Fanny Racault has a doctorate in philosophy from the University of East Anglia. According to her web page, she is a Biological Oceanographer whose PhD was in Environmental Science. She returned to UEA in November last year, “to take the lead on the next stage of developments on the ecosystem component of the PlankTOM model series”.

The Head of Climate Impacts Research at the Met Office, Professor Richard Betts, does actually have a degree in physics. Nevertheless, in January his organisation promoted a climate impacts report that warned of future societal collapse and armed gangs roaming a U.K. ravaged by climate change. Philip Thornton works for CGIAR, a non-profit food researcher and has a BA in agriculture. James Morison is described as a “senior climate change scientist” at the Forestry Commission. Mark Pelling is a Geography Professor at King’s College, while Richard Dawson is a Professor of Earth Systems Engineering at Newcastle University. Vanessa Castan Broto is a Professor of Climate Urbanism, having joined Sheffield University in 2017 following her appointment as a Professorial Fellow in the Faculty of Social Sciences.

Dr. Helen Adams is a senior lecturer at King’s College in Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation. Her PhD concentrated on the “role of the environment in migration decision-making in rural Peru”. It was the BBC that said the IPCC scientists had outlined a “harrowing” summary of climate impact. It quoted Dr. Adams saying it was “really, really clear” that things are bad, “but actually the future depends on us, not the climate”.

The final two scientists/authors are Emily Boyd, a Professor of Sustainability at Lund University in Sweden, where she is also described as a “leading social scientist”, and Lindsay Stringer, another Geography Professor, this time at York.

The definition of science is obviously somewhat elastic these days and geography departments have been successful in reinventing themselves under names such as Earth Sciences. Nevertheless, the lack of involvement from ‘pure’ scientists – people who study chemistry and physics – is noteworthy. Ultimately all the speculative disaster prose arises from the hypothesis that humans are causing the climate to change by burning fossil fuel and creating extra carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The effect of CO2 is hotly disputed in atmospheric science circles, although much of the debate is ignored under the ‘settled’ science agenda. In fact, there is not yet one single, peer-reviewed science paper that proves conclusively that humans cause all or most global warming. Nobody knows how much the atmosphere warms if COlevels are doubled. Climate model guesses range from 1-6°C.

Meanwhile, much of the disaster prose that is endlessly recycled has been debunked. Coral reefs are not doomed – it seems the Great Barrier Reef has rarely been in better health; Pacific islands are increasing in size; the oceans are not turning into an acid bath. Declaring a climate emergency and basing all the warnings on something called global warming is starting to wear thin. Global temperature rises started running out of steam two decades ago. In fact, according to accurate satellite data, they haven’t budged for the last 88 months. No plausible link between temperature and COhas been established in the current, historical or geological record.

Professor Roger Pielke from the University of Colorado has been a long time critic of the politicisation of science. His initial view is that the latest UN report “is more heavily weighted to implausible scenarios than any previous IPCC assessment”. In particular, he notes that RCP8.5 accounts for 57% of scenario mentions. According to Pielke, this alone accounts for the apocalyptic tone and conclusions throughout the report.

RCP stands for Representative Concentration Pathways. There are four pathways and the worst case RCP8.5 assumes an improbable rise in global temperature of 5°C in less than 80 years. “Remarkably, RCP8.5 is characterised  in the report as a ‘business as usual future’,” said Pielke. “In reality, RCP4.5 [quoted in only 17.5% of scenario mentions] is currently thought of as an upper bound trajectory under current or stated policies, and RCP8.5 is implausible,” he added.

The climate writer Paul Homewood has spent years debunking many of the disaster tall tales. In characteristic blunt fashion, he notes that the IPCC, “relies heavily on studies written by grant-funded activist scientists. Many of these are easily debunked and they are usually based on very dodgy computer models”.

Finally comes news of a possible climate research strike. According to a recent paper from Bruce Glavovic: “Given the urgency and criticality of climate change, we argue the time has come for scientists to agree to a moratorium on climate change research as a means to first expose, then renegotiate, the broken science-society contract.” Glavovic is a Professor at the School of People, Environment and Planning at Massey University in New Zealand. Sometimes, a job title does not require any further comment.

Chris Morrison is the Daily Sceptic‘s Environment Editor.

March 8, 2022 Posted by | Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | | Leave a comment

The Misrepresentation Of The Scientific Consensus On Climate Change

By Iain Aitken | Watts Up With That? | February 10, 2022

[Note: This essay is abstracted from my eBook Myths: Widely Held But False Beliefs In The Climate Change Crisis, available on Amazon]

In their Fifth Assessment Report the IPCC, the ‘internationally accepted scientific authority on climate change’, gave their opinion of how much of the recent global warming was caused by human activity: ‘It is extremely likely [95-100 percent confidence] more than half of the observed increase in global mean surface temperature from 1951 to 2010 was caused by the anthropogenic [i.e. man-made] increase in greenhouse gas concentrations and other anthropogenic forcings together’. Reflecting that opinion Wikipedia states that the ‘Scientific consensus on climate change’ is that ‘the Earth is warming and… this warming is mainly caused by human activities’. It claims that 97-100% of actively publishing climate scientists endorse this opinion. Similarly, NASA claim that, ‘A consensus on climate change and its human cause exists… human activities are the primary cause of the observed climate-warming trend over the past century.’ And in an October 2020 interview on CBS’s 60 Minutes climatologist Dr Michael Mann said, ‘There’s about as much scientific consensus about human-caused climate change as there is about gravity.’ So is it actually true that 97-100% of climate scientists explicitly or implicitly endorse this key IPCC opinion?

Although science is not remotely democratic (it only needs one scientist to prove that the ‘consensus view’ is wrong and it is wrong) the fact remains that if this 97-100% consensus assertion is true then it is indeed very powerful. If the ‘internationally accepted scientific authority on climate change’ says something is almost certainly true and almost all climate scientists in the world agree then it almost certainly must be true – mustn’t it? Whilst there is undoubtedly almost total scientific consensus amongst the scientific authorities (literally dozens of scientific academies from around the world explicitly or implicitly endorse the IPCC’s opinions) that does not necessarily reflect the consensus view amongst climate scientists themselves. So what exactly is it that climate scientists agree on?

The consensus argument is epitomized by Barack Obama’s 2013 tweet that, ‘Ninety-seven percent of scientists agree: climate change is real, man-made and dangerous’. He tweeted this immediately after the publication of the most famous climate change consensus survey, Quantifying the consensus on man-made global warming in the scientific literature (John Cook et al, 2013) conducted by Skeptical Science, a small group of climate change activists, who, despite their name, are precisely the opposite of climate change skeptics (their strapline is ‘Getting skeptical about global warming skepticism’). This study examined the Abstracts from 11,944 climate science papers published over the twenty-year period from 1991 to 2011. It concluded that 97.1% of the Abstracts (that actually expressed an opinion on the causes of global warming) endorsed the view that man-made greenhouse gas emissions (or, at least, greenhouse gases) cause global warming. Although this was 97% of Abstracts, not 97% of climate scientists, it is not unreasonable to suppose that, based on this survey, about 97% of climate scientists endorse the view that man-made greenhouse gas emissions (or, at least, greenhouse gases) cause global warming. It said nothing whatsoever about how much warming those emissions were causing and whether or not such warming was ‘dangerous’. It is probably the case that at least 99.9% of people who might describe themselves as climate scientists (including those most skeptical about the climate change crisis idea) endorse the view that man-made greenhouse gas emissions (or, at least, greenhouse gases) cause global warming, i.e. some global warming. That is not in any serious dispute. The dispute is about how much global warming human activity is causing and whether or not it is ‘dangerous’. So the study revealed nothing that was not already well known and uncontroversial.

Skeptical Science summarized their findings with the statement, ‘97% of climate papers expressing a position on human-caused global warming agree: global warming is happening and we are the cause’ – where ‘we are the cause’ clearly implied ‘we are the sole cause’ instead of what it actually found, viz. that we are the cause of some of the global warming. If the study had been able to show convincingly that 97% of climate scientists endorsed the IPCC’s opinion that human activity was the predominant cause of global warming between 1951 and 2010 then that would certainly have strongly supported the view that there was almost total scientific consensus that the IPCC was right. But of all the Abstracts reviewed in this study only 0.3% explicitly endorsed that central IPCC opinion1. Even (ex-IPCC) Mike Hulme has noted that, ‘The Cook et al study is hopelessly confused… in one place the paper claims to be exploring “the level of scientific consensus that human activity is very likely causing most of the current GW [Global Warming]” and yet the headline conclusion is based on rating abstracts according to whether “humans are causing global warming”. These are two entirely different judgements.’ The recently published paper Greater than 99% consensus on human caused climate change in the peer-reviewed scientific literature (Lynas et al, 2021) claims that the consensus is actually 2% higher – but once again only actually finds a 99% consensus that human activity contributes to climate change to some extent2; in fact about 99% of the papers reviewed in this study failed to explicitly quantify the extent. A survey3 of more than 1,800 climate scientists conducted in 2015 concluded that just 43% of them would endorse the IPCC opinion about our recent predominant role in global warming (and how many of them were agreeing based primarily on their faith in the IPCC and/or their self-interest in staying ‘on message’ to the climate change crisis narrative?)

Mike Hulme has stated that, ‘Claims such as “2,500 of the world’s leading scientists have reached a consensus that human activities are having a significant influence on the climate” are disingenuous. That particular consensus judgement, as are many others in the IPCC reports, is reached by only a few dozen experts.’ Supporting that view, an independent study4 found that the views expressed by the IPCC were the consensus of a leadership cadre of just 53 (about 2%) of them, 44 of whom were very closely linked professionally, having co-authored papers with one another and so very likely to share the same opinions. The author of the study, John McLean (climate data analyst at the Australian Climate Science Coalition and an Expert Reviewer for the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report), concluded that ‘Governments have naively and unwisely accepted the claims of a human influence on global temperatures made by a close-knit clique of a few dozen scientists, many of them climate modellers, as if they were representative of the opinion of the wider scientific community.’

One of the most comprehensive reviews5 ever performed of surveys of the scientific consensus on climate change concluded:

  • The articles and surveys most commonly cited as showing support for a ‘scientific consensus’ in favor of the catastrophic man-made global warming hypothesis are without exception methodologically flawed and often deliberately misleading.
  • There is no survey or study showing ‘consensus’ on the most important scientific issues in the climate change debate.
  • Extensive survey data show deep disagreement among scientists on scientific issues that must be resolved before the man-made global warming hypothesis can be validated. Many prominent experts and probably most working scientists disagree with the claims made by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

So what is the real scientific consensus on climate change? There is almost total scientific consensus that carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere are increasing, that that increase is predominantly due to human activity, that the climate system is warming, that climate change is happening and that human activity has contributed to some extent to the warming, changing climate. Note again that skeptical scientists, like Dr Roy Spencer and Dr Judith Curry and Dr Richard Lindzen, are part of this ‘scientific consensus on climate change’; the idea that they constitute the 3% of scientists who do not support the scientific consensus on climate change is a false idea, misrepresenting what the ‘scientific consensus on climate change’ actually is6. This misrepresentation is designed to bolster the ‘climate change crisis’ narrative and to marginalize and neutralize the skeptical scientists by making their views appear to fall far outside the overwhelming consensus view, even though they actually share that consensus view. Basically, the ‘consensus’ breaks down over the issue of whether or not human activity has been predominantly responsible for recent warming – and whether or not that warming is ‘dangerous’. The power of the false ‘97% scientific consensus that human activity has been predominantly responsible for climate change’ meme, perpetuated by Wikipedia, NASA, Facebook (and many others) is that it can be used very effectively to strangle at birth any debate about the science. As Dr Richard Lindzen has put it, ‘The claim is meant to satisfy the non-expert that he or she has no need to understand the science. Mere agreement with the 97 percent will indicate that one is a supporter of science and superior to anyone denying disaster. This actually satisfies a psychological need for many people.’

So if we return to Dr Michael Mann’s statement that, ‘There’s about as much scientific consensus about human-caused climate change as there is about gravity’ this is very disingenuous. Whilst there is almost total scientific consensus that climate change is ‘real’ and happening and that there has been some human-caused influence, there is no such scientific consensus over the extent of the human-caused influence and whether or not it could reasonably be described as ‘dangerous’, let alone a ‘crisis’.


Legates et al. (2015), Science & Education and ‘Consensus? What Consensus?’, GWPF Note 5,, September 2013 and ‘Richard Tol’s Excellent Summary of the Flaws in Cook et al. (2013) and ‘The Infamous 97% Consensus Paper’,, 26 March 2015 and ‘The Cook ‘97% consensus’ paper, exposed by new book for the fraud that it really is’,, 12 March 2016

2 ‘Cooked Up Consensus: Lynas et al “Should Rather Be Classified As Propaganda, Bad Science”’,, 26 October 2021

3 Bart Strengers, Bart Verheggen and Kees Vringer (2015), Climate Science Survey, Questions and Responses, PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, pp 1 – 39

4 ‘Prejudiced authors, prejudiced findings’, John McLean, (Science and Public Policy Institute), July 2008

Why Scientists Disagree About Global Warming (2015) – Craig D. Idso, Robert M. Carter, S. Fred Singer

6 ‘Study: 3% Contrarians Derailing the 97% Climate Consensus’,, 18 December 2021

February 11, 2022 Posted by | Book Review, Deception, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | Leave a comment

The silly science of climate alarmism

By David Wojick | CFACT | November 19, 2021

You may think that climate science is complicated and that the scientists who are alarmed about climate change know what they are doing. Well, yes and no. The climate is complicated but scientists have bought into some very silly science.

Happily this is all easy to see with no science involved. Seriously, don’t back away. There is no science coming, especially nothing hard. Happily the world’s top alarmists have provided everything we need in a very simple way. Of course they do not see it because they are committed to alarmism. But I will point it out and you can use your own judgement.

Here goes. Globally, climate alarmism is led by the United Nations. Huge sums of money are at stake but that is not the point here, although it does explain much of what is going on. On the science side alarmism is led by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, usually just called the IPCC.

“Intergovernmental” sounds like a word you might learn as a joke. In this case it means that the members of this Panel are most of the world’s national governments. Most or maybe all of these governments pay lip service to climate alarmism.

Every five years or so the IPCC puts out a monster report that claims to be an overview of the latest climate science. In reality they just pick the science that best supports alarmism. This year is one of those years and they outdid themselves. Instead of the usual 1,000 page report it is a whopping 4,000 pages. Of course no one in their right mind will read it, but it sure shows how smart they are, right?

Where it gets useful is that there is a 40 page Summary for Policy Makers, which means for ordinary people. Anyone who votes is a policy maker of sorts. It is here that we find the basic scientific arguments for alarmism and they don’t amount to much.

In fact there are just two arguments for alarmism, which occur as two windows in the very first figure. They are labeled figure 1a and 1b. They are easy to describe so you don’t have to look them up. If you want to see them go here:

Figure 1a is called the Hockey Stick by skeptics of alarmism (like me). It claims to be the global average temperatures for the last 2,000 years (like we can know that). It is pretty much a flat line until about 150 years ago and this is the hockey stick handle. Then it suddenly shoots up with big rapid warming from then until now, making the hockey stick blade. Handle flat then blade pointing up.

In short they say there was no global warming until we started it 150 years ago. What makes this silly is that there is lots of evidence for two prior periods of warming that may have been just as warm as today’s. These are so well known that they have names — the medieval warm period (when Vikings farmed Greenland) and the Roman warm period (when civilization flourished).

In between there were really cold spells including the little ice age that ended with the recent warming. In fact our warming may be nothing but the natural end to the little ice age.

There are thousands of research reports on these natural periods of warming and cooling but the IPCC simply ignores them. Alarmism depends on the recent warming being unprecedented. Natural warming disappears. Do not look behind the curtain!

So much for the bogus hockey stick. Figure 1b then zooms in on the recent warming, with a fancy variation on the same disappearing act. This time it is about the computer models of climate change, which is where alarmism comes from. It is these silly computer models that say we are causing dangerous global warming, with worse to come.

Figure 1b shows two computer model outputs. Each line is the global temperature over the last 150 years, when the recent warming occurred. One is supposedly the temperature history as it would have been without human interference, the natural history, and the other is the history with human inputs. Guess what? The natural history has no warming, while the human history shows all the warming that has occurred over the period.

The IPCC says this proves all the warming is caused by us humans. What makes this silly is figure 2, which gives the game away. It is a list of all the things in the models that can cause warming. All are human! There are no natural causes.

This means the models are programmed so that only humans can cause warming. Thus what figure 1b really says is “If we assume that only humans can cause long term warming then we find that the long term warming is caused by humans”. This is called circular reasoning because the conclusion is just a restatement of the assumption. It is truly silly.

What is missing of course is just what was missing In the hockey stick, namely nature. There is actually a great deal of research on possible natural causes for some of the long term warming, maybe even all of it. Keep in mind that the recent warming is very small, just around one degree over 150 years. Small changes in the sun, or the ocean, or even just in the clouds, could easily cause this little bit of global warming.

The IPCC simply ignores all this research, just like it ignored the warm and cold periods in the 2,000 year hockey stick. In fact this extreme alarmist bias dominates government funded climate science, which is most of it.

That is really all there is to alarmist science and it sure is silly! No deep scientific mystery. Just assume that everything that happens is our fault, program the computers that way, and let the computer then predict worse to come. Ignore all the research that says otherwise. Ignore the little ice age and the medieval warm period. Ignore natural change even though it is right in front of us.

Ignoring nature is the silly science of climate alarmism.

Reprinted with added stuff from RANGE magazine, Winter 2021/2022 issue. For more information see 

December 3, 2021 Posted by | Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | | 1 Comment

How we fool ourselves. Part III: Social biases

By Judith Curry | Climate Etc. | April 25, 2021

“Is the road to scientific hell paved with good intentions?” – political psychologist Philip Tetlock (1994)

Part I in this series addressed logical fallacies. Part II addressed biases associated with a consensus building process. Part II addresses the role of social conflicts and biases.

Additional biases are triggered by social conflict between an individual’s responsibility for responsible conduct of research, and the larger ethical issues associated with the well-being of the public and the environment. Further, social biases are triggered by careerist goals, loyalty to one’s colleagues and institutional loyalties.

Scientists have the responsibility of adhering to the principles of ethical research and professional standards. But what happens when other responsibilities get in the way of these professional standards? These might include responsibilities to their conscience, their colleagues, institutions, the public and/or the environment. One can imagine many different conflicts across this range of responsibilities that that can bias the scientific process. As an example, scientists that have been heavily involved with the IPCC may be concerned with preserving the importance of the IPCC and its consensus, which has become central to their professional success, funding and influence.

Arguably the most important of these are conflicts between the responsible conduct of research and larger ethical issues associated with the well-being of the public and the environment. Fuller and Mosher’s book Climategate: The CruTape Letters argued that ‘noble cause corruption’ was a primary motivation behind the Climategate deceits. Noble cause corruption is when the ends of protecting the climate (noble) justify the means of sabotaging your scientific opponents (ignoble).

Psychologist Brian Nosek of the University of Virginia claims that the most common and problematic bias in science is ‘motivated reasoning’. People that have a ‘dog in the fight’ (reputational, financial, ideological, political) interpret observations to fit a particular idea that supports their particular ‘dog.’ The term ‘motivated reasoning’ is usually reserved for political motivations, but preserving their reputation or funding is also a strong motivator among scientists.

The embedding of political values into science occurs when value statements or ideological claims are wrongly treated as objective truth. Scientists have a range of attitudes about the environment; the problem occurs because there is the presumption that one set of attitudes is right and those who disagree are in denial. This results in conversion of a widely shared political ideology about climate change into ‘reality.’

Confirmation bias can become even stronger when people confront questions that trigger moral emotions and concerns about group identity. People’s beliefs become more extreme when they’re surrounded by like-minded colleagues. They come to assume that their opinions are not only the norm but also the truth – creating what social psychologist Jonathan Haidt calls a ‘tribal-moral community’ with its own sacred values about what’s worth studying and what’s taboo. Such biases can lead to widely-accepted claims that reflect the scientific community’s blind spots more than they reflect justified scientific conclusions.

Psychologists Cusiman and Lombrozo found that people facing a dilemma between believing an impartial assessment of the evidence and believing what would better fulfill a moral obligation, people often believe in line with the latter. Cuisman and Lombrozo found that morally good beliefs demand less evidence than morally bad beliefs. They also found that people sometimes treat the moral value of a belief as an independent justification for belief.

Motivated biases become particularly problematic once these biases are institutionalized, with advocacy statements made by professional societies, editorials written by journal editors, and public statements by the IPCC leadership.

April 25, 2021 Posted by | Book Review, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | | Leave a comment

Why Many Climate Crisis Claims Are Based On Manipulated Science

Climate Change Dispatch | March 28, 2021

We are constantly being warned by activists, politicians, and some climate scientists that we face a climate crisis; that if humanity collectively doesn’t alter its lifestyle and consumption patterns now, the world will end in 10 years, 12 years, 50 years—pick your number.

This is a lie, and I suspect most of the people making these apocalyptic prophesies know it. For them, it’s the modern-day equivalent of Plato’s noble lie—lying to people to get them to act in ways they don’t realize are in their own best interest.

Not coincidentally, those telling the lie profit from it in terms of influence, money, and/or power.

This lie is not in fact noble, nor is it based upon sound science. Rather, it is perpetrated through the regular suppression of inconvenient scientific data: data altered, suppressed, or scrubbed from journals and textbooks, which put the lie to insupportable claims made by politically connected climate scientists that an anthropogenic climate apocalypse is in the offing.

The big lie is built on a faulty premise that science can realistically trace the cause of modest recent warming of the Earth primarily to human greenhouse gas emissions, and that from this we can confidently predict what the world will look like 50, 100, and 300 years from now.

Award-winning climate scientist Richard Lindzen, Ph.D., described the big lie this way:

“One problem with conveying our message is the difficulty people have in recognizing the absurdity of the alarmist climate message. They can’t believe that something so absurd could gain such universal acceptance. Consider the following situation. Your physician declares that your complete physical will consist of simply taking your temperature. This would immediately suggest something wrong with your physician. He further claims that if your temperature is 98.7F rather than 98.6F, you must be put on life support. Now you know he is certifiably insane. The same situation for the climate is considered ‘settled science.”

Among the most egregious attempts to suppress inconvenient climate science came in 2001 when the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change tried to replace established climate history with the “hockey stick” graph.

The hockey stick dispensed with the long-recognized Medieval Warm Period from approximately 950 AD to 1250 AD, and the Little Ice Age, which ran from approximately 1350 AD through 1850 AD.

Its originators postulated global temperatures had been fairly stable over the past millennium, until the twentieth century when they began to rise sharply, due to an increase in carbon dioxide emissions.

This fit the IPCC’s climate change narrative, so it embraced it as the truth. Ultimately, even the IPCC couldn’t defend the hockey stick temperature reconstruction and removed it from subsequent reports.

Then came Climategate, in which a treasure trove of inconvenient email exchanges between IPCC-connected climate scientists was hacked and leaked.

These emails detailed the scientists hiding data that indicated the recent warming trend was not historically unusual and censoring scientific research that undermined claims of apocalyptic warming.

The Surface Station Project exposed the dirty little secret that temperature readings from the vast majority of the ground-based temperature stations were compromised by urban growth, skewing temperature readings higher.

Indeed, the research found 89 percent of surface stations—nearly 9 of every 10—fail to meet the National Weather Service’s requirements that stations must be 30 meters (about 100 feet) or more away from an artificial source of heat.

Additional scientific misconduct comes in the form of temperature monitoring agencies “adjusting” raw temperature recordings from unbiased, isolated temperature stations and reporting them in a way that indicates past temperatures were colder than were actually measured and recent temperatures have been warmer than actually measured.

This action produces an artificially steep temperature trend, making recent warming appear larger than it has been. In some instances, when these nefarious actions were exposed, the government agencies involved tried to scrub the official records of past temperatures.

Fortunately, in the age of the internet, where data once posted is forever, these Orwellian attempts to rewrite climate history have largely failed.

When global warming went on a 15-year hiatus, with temperatures flat-lining despite a steady rise in carbon dioxide emissions, a team of climate researchers at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) altered how ocean temperatures were measured.

Voilà, like magic, the hiatus disappeared. As David Rose wrote for the Daily Mail, describing the incident “[NOAA researchers] took reliable readings from buoys but then ‘adjusted’ them upwards – using readings from seawater intakes on ships that act as weather stations … even though readings from the ships have long been known to be too hot.”

Most recently, some of the same characters that brought the world the “hockey stick” have now published a widely publicized paper that claims a long-recognized ocean circulation pattern, the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO), which impacts climate, never existed at all but was an artifact of volcanic pulses.

Commenting on this paper, climate scientist Judith Curry, Ph.D., writes:

“Wow. In one fell swoop, the pesky problems of the ‘grand hiatus’ in the mid 20th century, debates over the attribution of 20th-century warming and the role of multidecadal internal variability, and the difficulty of attributing the recent increase in Atlantic hurricane activity to AGW, all go away. Brilliant! Almost as ‘brilliant’ as the Hockey Stick.”

There is little doubt the Earth is warming, but the list of breaches of the scientific method and ethics by researchers whose careers are intimately tied to the “truth” of climate alarmism provides more than enough reason to doubt the claim that the science is settled and the Earth is doomed, absent giving government authoritarian control over all aspects of peoples’ lives.

March 28, 2021 Posted by | Deception, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | | Leave a comment

Climate Facts or Leaps of Faith? Governments Can’t Tell the Difference

We have no hard evidence of a crisis. Only expert opinion and best estimates.

By Donna Laframboise | Big Picture News | February 17, 2021

Governments are currently fighting climate change to the tune of billions. For this to make sense, each idea in the following chain of reasoning needs to be bulletproof:

#1 – scientists know there’s a climate crisis
#2 – scientists know it’s humanity’s fault
#3 – scientists know we can alleviate the crisis by changing our behaviour

But each of these amounts to a leap of faith. Let’s start with the conviction that something unusual is going on. This planet is more than 4 billion years old. The climate was marching to its own drummer long before humans appeared. It has changed numerous times – sometimes gradually, sometimes violently. Twenty thousand years ago, much of North America was covered by ice.

Because humans weren’t recording and analyzing those billions of years of climatic history, today’s scientists have no way of knowing if anything unusual is going on now.

They can surmise. They can speculate. They can extrapolate. But they have no smoking gun. I’ve written two books about the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). That organization says it’s “extremely likely that more than half” of the global warming between 1951 and 2010 was caused by human activity. It talks about its “best estimate.”

click to enlarge; source here

Please note the startling imprecision here: Extremely likely. More than half. Best estimate. These aren’t facts. They’re educated guesses. They’re opinion. It’s absolutely crucial that we grasp this point: the IPCC has no hard evidence of a crisis. It has no math that can be examined and verified. It has only expert opinion. Estimates.

If you choose to take this leap of faith, you’re immediately invited to take another – to embrace the notion that the alleged climate crisis was triggered by human activity. As I’ve just outlined, the IPCC can’t prove this. It merely believes humans caused more than half of the warming over a 60-year period. That’s a long way from demonstrating clear human responsibility for imminent catastrophe.

On these two decisive questions – is there really a climate problem, and are humans really to blame – the IPCC has nothing definitive to contribute. Governments have, nevertheless, taken these leaps of faith.

Everyone seems to have forgotten that scientists are fallible. Like the rest of us, they know a great deal about their own field, but can be surprisingly misinformed about broader trends. Like the rest of us, they are susceptible to groupthink. Many IPCC personnel subscribe to a belief system that regards human activities as unnatural and therefore automatically threatening to the natural world. But belief systems are not proof.

Leap of faith #3 – the idea that humanity can fix whatever is currently going on with the climate – is equally dubious. Even if something alarming is happening, even if it is our fault, that doesn’t mean it lies within our power to influence, interrupt, or steer the powerful natural forces that have already been set in motion. It certainly doesn’t mean there’s only one sure-fire, anointed fix – slashing greenhouse gas emissions.

Governments are obsessed with greenhouse gases because they signed a UN treaty back in 1992. Long before the IPCC had produced its multi-thousand-page reports the cart was put before the horse. The UN – a political body – decreed that human-generated emissions were a problem that governments should do something about. The IPCC has struggled ever since to build a scientific case in support of that position.

No one actually knows whether reducing emissions will work. No one knows how long it might take to ‘stabilize’ the climate via this means. Yet governments are piling on the carbon taxes. Year after year, they divert billions away from healthcare and education to fight climate change with ever-expanding emissions reduction policies.

In 1992, the UK was led by John Major, Germany was led by Helmut Kohl, America was led by George H.W. Bush, and France was led by Francois Mitterrand. The Internet barely existed in 1992, the founding of Google was still years away.

That treaty belongs to a different era. There is no shame in walking away from outdated, 30-year-old thinking.

February 18, 2021 Posted by | Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | | Leave a comment

Faulty Forecasts and False Climate Narrative Hold Nations Hostage

By Vijay Jayaraj | Watts Up With That? | July 15, 2020

The United States is the only major Western country that is not part of the Paris climate agreement, which seeks to restrict and reduce fossil fuel consumption across the world. But the country is not immune from the impacts of the restrictive energy policies the agreement imposes on its trade partners. One of those is my own country, India.

India imports large amounts of coal, oil, and natural gas from the U.S., mostly to generate affordable power for its electric grid. That grid must grow rapidly to meet the needs of over 1.3 billion people. Over 300 million of them—comparable to the whole U.S. population—currently have no electricity. But they need it desperately for their health and their escape from severe poverty.

The justification for reducing fossil fuel use is the claim that climate change will create havoc in the future unless we reduce our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. But this claim is not as black and white as the mainstream media and politicians make it out to be.

In fact, data on temperature suggest that the claim is exaggerated and tends be informed by incorrect interpretations from faulty models.

The Never-Ending Problem with Models

The Paris climate agreement and other major climate recommendations from the United Nations are strictly based on the guidelines provided by Assessment reports produced by a climate wing known as the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC).

The IPCC uses forecast data processed by a large set of computer climate models to arrive at the policy recommendations in its assessment reports.

Among them are forecasts from the Coupled Model Inter-comparison Project (CMIP). CMIP consists of 100 distinct climate models, run by leading modelling groups across the world. Their predictions drive the IPCC’s reports. In 2013, the IPCC fifth assessment report (AR5) featured climate models from CMIP5 (fifth generation).

But the forecasts from these models proved wrong. They exaggerated the temperature trend and differed markedly from temperature data derived from ground-based thermometers; sensors on weather balloons aircraft, ships, and buoys; satellite remote sensing; and “reanalyses”—the latter integrating the input of many different data sources.

Yet, political appointees in charge of determining climate and energy policy around the world used these forecasts to justify international climate agreements like the Paris agreement. And they do no stop with that.

The upcoming IPCC sixth assessment report (AR6), forecast for release in 2021, features forecasts from CMIP6. But the CMIP6 models are turning out to be no better than CMIP5 models. In fact, CMIP6 they’re worse!

Senior climatologist Dr. Roy Spencer has observed that the “CMIP6 models are showing 50 percent more net surface warming from 1979 up to April 2020 (+1.08 degree Celsius) than actual observations from the ground (+0.72 degree Celsius).”

Beyond doubt, comparing both CMIP5 and CMIP6 forecasts to official HadCRUT temperature data sets reveals a very old story: models are always way off the mark, and—suspiciously—always in the same direction, namely, upward, in predicting real-world temperatures.

So, not only were we lied to about the climate, we are going to be misled again by the next IPCC assessment report. And with more extreme false forecasts, there will be calls for more restrictive energy policies.

It is quite astonishing how the unelected politicians at the UN can convince and persuade global leaders to adopt climate policies that are based on unscientific conclusions from faulty models.

The mainstream media have also played their part. Public perception on climate change has been heavily influenced by biased coverage on the climate issue, with no major attention to the huge discrepancies between the model forecasts and real-world observations.

It is not clear how much faultier the projections will become by the time the new assessment report is finally released. But one thing is clear: energy sectors across the globe are being held hostage by pseudo-scientific interpretations from the United Nations’ flagship climate wing.

Vijay Jayaraj (M.Sc., Environmental Science, University of East Anglia, England), is a Research Contributor for the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation living in New Delhi, India.

July 18, 2020 Posted by | Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity, Science and Pseudo-Science | , , , | Leave a comment

Climate Alarmism and Malthusianism (rebuttal to Taylor)

By Robert Bradley Jr. – Master Resource – February 25, 2020

“The pseudo-intellectual right loves to compare climate concern and action with Malthusianism. I’ve never quite understood what the heck these things have in common.” (Jerry Taylor, October 13, 2019)

“What environmentalists mainly say … is not that we are running out of energy but that we are running out of environment–that is, running out of the capacity of air, water, soil and biota to absorb, without intolerable consequences for human well-being, the effects of energy extraction, transport, transformation and use.” (John Holdren, April 2002)

Jerry Taylor, please read the literature before opining on such matters as energy and the environment. Climate change is the latest Malthusian scare, per John Holdren. And the common denominator of the Malthusian worldview is overpopulation, as Pierre Desrochers and Joanna Szurmak document in Population Bombed! Exploding the Link Between Overpopulation and Climate Change (2018).

Some quotations from Population Bombed cement the tie-in:

  • Numerous population control advocates have linked anthropogenic climate change to population growth, or tried to revive interest in invoking anthropogenic climate change as the key negative outcome of continued economic growth linked to, foremost among causes, an increasing population.
  • … population Bomber” himself, Paul Ehrlich … during a conference in 1968 identified anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions as a “serious limiting factor” to economic growth.
  • By the 1970s, Ehrlich, his wife Anne and his collaborator John Holdren raised fears that carbon dioxide “produced by combustion of fossil fuels in quantities too large to contain” may “already be influencing climate” and, as such, constituted one of the “gravest threats to human well-being. . . [i.e.] the loss of natural services now provided by biogeochemical processes.”
  • [Julian] Simon then summarized the position of most environmentalists as follows: “But isn’t obvious. . . that additional people and additional economic growth will cause us to use more energy and hence emit more greenhouse gases? Therefore, even if we can’t be sure of the greenhouse effect, wouldn’t it be prudent to cut back on growth?”
  • The economist Jacqueline Kasun similarly believed at the time that “by the 1990s the doomsayers had shifted their attack” as they could no longer invoke resource depletion as the key growth-limiting issue. As she wrote, “the alarmists didn’t miss a step. The problem, they now said, was that people were using too much energy and were causing Global Warming.”
  • Canadian academic Michael Hart has commented that “for alarmists, climate mitigation policy is as much a means of achieving their larger goals as it is a matter of addressing a possibly serious issue.”
  • Canadian academic, historical climatologist Tim Ball, has long argued, the climate change policy agenda is based on certain assumptions ultimately related to a fear of reaching another terrestrial set of limits through overpopulation.
  • Maurice Strong (1929–2015), who was described by business journalist Peter Foster as “[m]ore than any other individual. . . responsible for promoting the [UN] climate agenda,” … [stated] “with a growing global population, we will have to recognise that having children is not just a personal issue but a societal issue and at a certain point we may be faced with a need to have a permit to have a child.”
  • [Strong] also referred to the need for “national population policies” in his opening speech at the 1972 Stockholm Conference. Strong reportedly stated the following Malthusian prediction at the 1992 Earth Summit: “Either we reduce the world’s population voluntarily or nature will do this for us, but brutally.”
  • The first chairman of the IPCC (1988-1997), Bert Bolin, was not only an early convert to the alleged catastrophic impact of CO2 emissions, but also a pessimist on population and resources issues, as evidenced in his stance on the controversy surrounding the 2001 publication of The Skeptical Environmentalist by the Danish political scientist Bjorn Lomborg.
  • John Holdren contradicted many of his earlier warnings of imminent resource depletion by arguing that while the word was not “running out of energy,” it was “running out of environment,” by which he meant “running out of the capacity of air, water, soil and biota to absorb, without intolerable consequences for human well-being, the effects of energy extraction, transport, transformation and use.”
  • The second chairman of the IPCC (1997–2002), Robert Watson, would later go on the record with the following line of reasoning: “The more people we have on the Earth and the richer they are, the more they can demand resources. There’s more demand for food, more demand for water, more demand for energy. . . So, there’s no question the threats on the Earth today are far more than, say, 50 years ago and in 50 years’ time, there will even be more threats.”
  • The third chairman of the IPCC (2002-2015), Rajendra K. Pachauri … was “not going to rest easy until [he has] articulated in every possible forum the need to bring about major structural changes in economic growth and development. That’s the real issue. Climate change is just a part of it.”
  • Timothy E. Wirth, one of the main organizers of the 1988 James Hansen hearing on climate change, and from 1998 to 2013 president of the (hardcore Malthusian) … is on the record as stating in 1993: “We’ve got to ride this global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing in terms of economic and environmental policy.

Other documentation from Desrochers and Szurmak includes the views of Christine Stewart, then Canadian Minister of the Environment; Connie Hedegaard, European Commissioner for Climate Action (2010–2014); Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Christiana Figueres ; Professor Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, the director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research; researchers associated with the Population Reference Bureau and the Worldwatch Institute; Canadian climate scientist Andrew Weaver of the British Columbia Green Party; and the late climatologist Stephen Schneider

So what are the climate Malthusians missing? The same thing as before: human ingenuity. Desrochers and Szurmak note:

… there is ample evidence of a passionate commitment towards the protection of the planet, but there is no sign of recognition that humanity can do, and has done, more than simply consume resources. At no point do neo-Malthusians admit the possibility that technological innovations and human creativity have a place among the things that deserve a place on Earth. What pessimist activists desire is a consensus on the classification of humanity as out of control and inherently driven by destructive greed, thus in need of top-down regulation by the few remaining clear-thinking and benign autocrats – that is, functionaries – of the global government.

Buyer beware of climate alarmism and Malthusianism.

February 25, 2020 Posted by | Environmentalism, Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity, Science and Pseudo-Science | , | Leave a comment

Hide The Decline: A Climategate Backgrounder

CDN • December 4, 2019

Dr. John Robson looks back on the 10th anniversary of the exposure of the scandalous “Climategate” decision to delete awkward data that contradicted the idea that settled science said we face a man-made global warming crisis.



20 years ago, in April 1998, a paper appeared in the prestigious journal Nature that would go on to be one of the most contentious and influential climate science papers of all time.

Its lead author was Michael E. Mann, at the time a young researcher just starting his career. From the initials of Mann and his coauthors the paper came to be called MBH98, but to many people it’s best known for introducing the famous “hockey stick” graph.

Based on a statistical analysis of tree rings and other natural formations, it purported to show the average annual temperature of the Northern Hemisphere back to AD1400 as basically flatlining (the handle) for hundreds of years until it suddenly shot upward (the blade) in the 20th century.

A year later the same authors published an extended version going back to AD1000. Both versions presented the same stunning picture: the world’s climate had apparently followed a steady, gentle cooling trend for 900 years, then in the 20th century a violent warming trend began, unlike anything in the past millennium. The authors fingered rising CO2 emissions as the culprit.

Within two years the hockey stick rocketed to international fame, after becoming the centrepiece of the 2001 Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, where it appeared six times, always in full colour, and was heavily promoted at an international press conference by IPCC Chairman Sir John Houghton.

Governments around the world began using the hockey stick, with the full authority of the IPCC behind it, to promote the global warming alarm.

John Robson

I’m John Robson, and this is a Climate Discussion Nexus backgrounder on Hiding the Decline.

There was always something dubious about this chart. And not just the way it erased the well-known Medieval Warm Period. It’s also that the Mann series switched from tree rings to temperature readings at the precise point the line changed direction dramatically. Which would normally get scientists excited about possible weaknesses in the methodology, particularly the discrepancy between the data sets, rather than pretending there was nothing to worry about. And finally it was very strange, at least from a scientific perspective, that this one paper got so much publicity because back in 1998 Mann and his colleagues were not the only ones studying ancient tree ring data and other researchers did not find what they did.


Just two months after MBH98 appeared, Nature published another climate reconstruction, this time by the late British scientist Keith Briffa and 4 coauthors.

Like Mann’s study, it used tree ring records from all over the Northern Hemisphere to estimate temperatures back to the year 1400. But unlike Mann’s paper, the result looked nothing like a hockey stick. It showed a lot of variability over time, and record warmth in the 1930s, but no special warming pattern since then.

In fact, it showed cooling up to 1993, with temperatures ending below the average of the past six centuries.

John Robson

The climate science community was confronted with two studies at the same time, both using similar methods to study the same thing, and coming up with very different answers. Normally that kind of result means the science is not settled, the data may not be reliable, and the uncertainties need to be explained.

In this case, apparently, it meant instead that a body needed to be buried for political reasons. The story of the disappearance of the Briffa data is one of the darkest episodes in modern science.

And now a word from our sponsor. And that’s you, because the Climate Discussion Nexus is supported by ordinary Canadians who want to see more common sense, more logic, and more facts in the discussion on climate change… and less yelling. If you want to help us, subscribe to our YouTube channel, go to our Patreon page, make a pledge, become a monthly sponsor. Now back to our regularly scheduled programming.


It’s long been known that the Earth’s climate is naturally variable. The study of ancient climate conditions is called paleoclimatology. In the first report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, back in 1990, they summarized the conventional view among paleoclimate experts that at the end of the last ice age about 10,000 years ago, the climate warmed for about 4,000 years, reached a state much warmer than the present and stayed there for several millennia, then began cycling between cooling and warming.

The Roman era and the Medieval era were both relatively warm compared to the present, and the Little Ice Age, which ended in the early 1800s, was relatively cold. And now we are in another warm phase of the cycle, though according to the conventional view as of 1990, it’s nothing special compared to previous eras.

The 1990 IPCC diagram of the familiar cycle matches other records, such as this long term temperature reconstruction from ice cores taken out of the Greenland ice cap.

Similar evidence for past warming episodes comes from the Riviere Boniface region in the Ungava Peninsula of northern Quebec. In 1997, scientists from Laval University in Quebec published evidence of the remains of a black spruce forest preserved in peat in the arctic tundra. The trees grew over an interval spanning 1000 BC to almost 1600 AD.

John Robson

How could there be a forest in the Arctic? Simple. It used to be warmer there than it is to this day. Periods of rapid forest growth there happened during the Roman and Medieval warm periods. But a major fire in the late 1500s wiped out the trees, and it’s been too cold for them to grow back ever since. In fact, it’s been considerably too cold. The authors point out that the forest remains they studied are 130 km north of the present tree line. For a forest to have grown so far north a thousand years ago means it had to have been much warmer there for a long time compared to what we’re now experiencing.

The problem for alarmists is that the existence of the Medieval Warm Period made it hard to claim that recent climate warming is anything unusual. So it had to go. Which made the Mann hockey stick very attractive to the IPCC.


MBH98’s headline conclusion was that today’s warming was unlike anything the Earth had seen in a thousand years. But, the critics would say, that’s based on studying tree rings. Maybe the warming happened, and the tree rings simply don’t show it. Which is where Briffa’s data was critical.

The 20th century is the one interval where we have both thermometer data and tree ring records, and we can see that the trees don’t show any warming. So, if they fail to respond to 20th century warming, how do we know that they don’t also miss it in earlier centuries?

A third paper published in 1998 emphasized these challenges. The lead author was UK scientist Phil Jones, and his list of coauthors included Keith Briffa and two others. They said that, of the various ancient climate records available, tree rings were probably the best, but they can be very unreliable.

Their own result fell between Mann’s and Briffa’s, with a clear Little Ice Age and a modern interval about as warm as the Medieval period. But since it was based on a very small data set they cautioned against reading too much into it.

John Robson

Mann’s paper, by contrast, swept aside the uncertainties. He and his coauthors claimed “moderately high levels of confidence” that the 1990s were the warmest decade, and 1998 the warmest year, of the millennium – of the last 1,000 years. And that brought the IPCC calling.


In 1999 the IPCC was starting work on its Third Assessment Report. Out of all the people doing tree ring temperature analysis, they picked Michael Mann to write the summary.

John Robson

Jones and Briffa were invited to serve as contributors, but under IPCC rules, it’s the Lead Authors who decide what goes in. By appointing Mann, the IPCC was signalling what message they were looking for. And soon they would be even more explicit about what they were after.


On September 1st 1999 the IPCC convened a meeting of the authors in Arusha, Tanzania, where they spent three days discussing what the first draft of the report should include. Ten years later a large library of emails among Jones, Briffa, Mann and other climate scientists would be leaked onto the internet, which is how we came to possess the inside details of what happened next.

On September 22nd 1999, three weeks after the Arusha meeting, IPCC Coordinating Lead Author Chris Folland sent around a note stating

A proxy diagram of temperature change is a clear favourite for the Policy Makers summary. But the current diagram with the tree ring only data [Briffa’s] somewhat contradicts the [Mann] multiproxy curve and dilutes the message rather significantly.

So he asked that Mann’s curve be given priority.

John Robson

Now hold on a moment. It’s 1999, almost two years before the report was due to be released and before the expert review process had even started. Yet the IPCC leadership had already decided on the “message” they wanted in the Summary for Policymakers, and they didn’t want it “diluted” even though they knew the available data was contradictory and inconclusive?

Clearly the IPCC didn’t see their job as surveying the science and writing a summary that reflected the full range of data and of opinions. Instead they decided ahead of time on a compelling message, that man-made climate change was a pressing crisis, and then they looked for the science to support it.


Mann proposed doing what Folland wanted by circulating a diagram showing only his hockey stick and the Jones diagram, while leaving out Briffa’s altogether. Jones objected, and Briffa likewise was furious. He wrote to the author team:

I know Mike thinks his series is the ‘best’ and he might be right – but he may also be too dismissive of other data and possibly over confident in his… After all, the early (pre-instrumental) data are much less reliable as indicators of global temperature than is apparent in modern calibrations.”

John Robson

But Briffa also understood the problem: The data didn’t support the story the IPCC wanted to tell.

I know there is pressure to present a nice tidy story as regards ‘apparent unprecedented warming in a thousand years or more in the proxy data’ but in reality the situation is not quite so simple. We don’t have a lot of proxies that come right up to date and those that do (at least a significant number of tree proxies ) some unexpected changes in response that do not match the recent warming. I do not think it wise that this issue be ignored in the chapter.

He then acknowledged what was really at stake: They were being asked to override their scientific judgment in service of the IPCC’s political agenda.

I believe that the recent warmth was probably matched about 1000 years ago. I do not believe that global mean annual temperatures have simply cooled progressively over thousands of years as Mike appears to and I contend that that there is strong evidence for major changes in climate over the Holocene.

Mann then offered to put the Briffa data back in. But, he warned, they didn’t understand why the data sets differed, and climate skeptics might use this to cast doubt on their work and undermine the peoples’ faith:

So, if we show Keith’s series in this plot, we have to comment that “something else” is responsible for the discrepancies in this case… We would need to put in a few words in this regard. Otherwise, the skeptics would have a field day casting doubt on our ability to understand the factors that influence these estimates and, thus, can undermine faith in the paleoestimates.

The real problem wasn’t that skeptics would cast doubt on their message, it was that the contradictions in the data would cast doubt on their message.

The end result, many months later, was that Mann’s hockey stick graph appeared alone in the Summary for Policymakers, backed by this Figure in the main report.


The black line is Mann’s curve, the pink one is Jones’, and the green one peeking from behind was Briffa’s modified data, attributed to a later paper published in 2000. The red line leading upwards at the end was from modern thermometer data. The diagram suggested, amazingly, that all the data were in perfect agreement.

John Robson

Where did the discrepancy go?


For the next five years, nobody asked that question. Then in 2005, Stephen McIntyre of Toronto, a semi-retired mining consultant who had taken an interest in paleoclimate studies, got curious about it and looked up the Briffa paper. Right away, he noticed something odd.

The green curve was supposedly the one Briffa submitted to the IPCC. But it goes up to 1994 in the journal article, whereas the IPCC version stopped at 1960.

John Robson

They had deleted the final 33 years of data—the declining portion.


McIntyre hunted through some online data archives and found the full Briffa series, then drew what the IPCC diagram would have looked like if they had used all the data.

John Robson

What a difference. By deleting the last part of the blue line, they concealed the contradictions among the data sets, and the questions it raised about the validity of the methods.

Steve McIntyre

The reason why Briffa’s data was a problem for them was that his temperature reconstruction from tree rings went sharply down in the last half of the 20th century when temperatures were going up. So the question for any rational observer was, if tree ring data went down while temperatures went up, what makes you think that these are a good measurement, or a good proxy, for temperatures? And if they went down when it was warm in the 20th century, how do we know they didn’t do that in the past? These are questions that every scientist would ask if they were presented with this data, and by concealing the data, they stopped people from asking that question.

John Robson

McIntyre’s discovery didn’t attract much immediate attention, but when the Climategate emails came out, he began digging into the issue further. One of the most notorious emails was from Phil Jones dated just two months after the Arusha meeting, on November 16, 1999, when he was preparing a similar diagram that would go on the cover of a major report from the World Meteorological Organization. Writing to Mann and his MBH98 coauthors, Jones said:

I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (ie from 1981 onwards) amd from 1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline.

Jones was referring to this chart, which, like the IPCC diagram, made it look like all the data sets agreed and showed unprecedented recent warming. It achieved this effect by deleting the Briffa data after 1960, splicing in thermometer data to each series up to the year 2000, then smoothing over the splice, as Jones said, to hide the decline. That’s quite the trick.

Steve McIntyre

To give you an idea of how big a story it was, the Climategate emails were released at approximately the same time as Tiger Woods’ implosion. And there were more, there were 22 million hits for Climategate and there were 21 million hits for Tiger Woods. It was a huge social media story, but it was barely covered in the national media.


In the aftermath of Climategate a number of inquiries were convened by the UK government into the conduct of Jones, Briffa and their British colleagues.

John Robson

But, as would be expected in bureaucratic circles, the reports mostly served to whitewash the revelations, to protect the reputations of the universities involved, and of course to protect the notion that there was a proven man-made global warming crisis.


The main investigative team was headed by Muir Russell, and it conceded that a minor wrist slap was in order for this incident.

“In relation to “hide the decline” we find that, given its subsequent iconic significance (not least the use of a similar figure in the [IPCC Report], the figure supplied for the WMO Report was misleading in not describing that one of the series was truncated post 1960 for the figure, and in not being clear on the fact that proxy and instrumental data were spliced together.”

Steve McIntyre

The operative word is there were “sort of” inquiries. None of the inquiries, however, squarely addressed or even addressed at all, the idea of senior IPCC scientists directing junior scientists to not, quote, “dilute the message”, or what the junior scientists had done to not, quote, “dilute the message.” The message they were trying to put out was that the change in climate was alarming, and so any data that they had that showed that it wasn’t alarming, they didn’t want to show. It would dilute the message.


The IPCC has never owned up to what happened, or issued a correction. In fact the fraudulent diagram is still on their website.

John Robson

By hiding the decline, they misled world leaders and citizens on an issue that they themselves judged to be critically important. They falsified data to conceal their own uncertainty and the potential unreliability of the methods they were using. And that is not how science is done.

It’s been 20 years now since this body was buried. But it still stinks. So, next time you see an apparently tidy and compelling message from the IPCC, judge its credibility accordingly.

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For the Climate Discussion Nexus, I’m John Robson.

January 11, 2020 Posted by | Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , | Leave a comment